'IRT: Deadliest Roads': Lisa Kelly Talks Trucking, Changing Partners, Facing Fear and the Puppy

Today's cuppa: English breakfast tea

Lisa-Kelly-truck-IRT-Deadliest-Roads.jpgHCTV is mighty fond of "Ice Road Truckers" and its spin-off, "IRT: Deadliest Roads," currently airing Sundays on History. Even the blog mascot, Badger the battery-operated hamster, just can't get enough.

Badger.JPGLast season, "IRT: Deadliest Roads" sent some of the "IRT" truckers and some newcomers to pit their skills against harrowing highways in the Himalayas. HCTV got the lowdown on the adventure from Wasilla, Alaska, trucker and "IRT" veteran Lisa Kelly, including an update on the black-and-white puppy she adopted along the way.

This season, "IRT" has dispatched Kelly and some other truckers to South America to try out terrifying routes there, including Bolivia's "Road of Death."

Proving once again that you don't need lots of testosterone to be tough, Kelly has already outlasted one partner. After returning from a long-haul drive over the weekend, she answered some questions by email -- including an update the now-grown dog, which lives with a show producer in the Los Angeles area. (Questions in bold.)

The roads in the Himalayas were challenging, but the ones in South America seem even more difficult. How do you compare the two?

I feel that India was great practice for Bolivia and Peru. Culturally, India was harder, the roads themselves were far worse in South America.

irt-deadliest-roads-dave-redmon.jpgWhy do you think your first partner, Southern trucker Dave Redmon, decided to leave?

I think we all deal with life's challenges differently,

How did that make you feel about continuing?

I have never depended on other people to make decisions for me. I also am very goal-oriented and a problem solver, so when things were bad with the truck I sought to make things better before continuing on.

What do you draw upon to keep going through the fear?

There are many things I want to accomplish in life and I don't want my fears to stand in my way. Many things are scary in life but that can't stop you from living it. Now I am drawn to the things that scare me. I feel that if you stop living you start dying.

What does it mean to you to have taken on these challenges?

Now that I've done two seasons of "IRT: Deadliest Roads," I have started to notice patterns in the way I learn and the way I face fears. I'm a little disappointed that I'm not as strong as I thought I was, but I'm so thankful that I know my limits and how to push past them. Now I can almost step outside myself and watch the process that I must go through to overcome obstacles.

Does the Dalton Highway in your native Alaska seem easier after driving in these foreign countries?

The Dalton does seem a lot easier after "Deadliest Roads," but in that, I have to be careful not to get careless, because the Dalton is still a dangerous road that gets you when you aren't paying attention.

What would you say to encourage -- or discourage -- other women from entering the trucking profession?

I would encourage anyone to follow their dreams, because dreams do come true if you want them bad enough. I think every person should challenge themselves so that they can grow.

In the last episode we saw, you were coping with a new partner, Texan G.W. Boles. How did that irt-deadliest-gw-boles.jpgrelationship progress?

With any partner, you have to go through an adjustment period. I don't want to give too much of the show away, but I have heard people say what great drivers they are and yet can't drive, so I needed to see proof. Everyone has to earn each other's trust especially when your life is in someone else's hands. It's very hard to just turn your life over to someone that you have never seen drive and is a complete stranger.  So I think it's interesting to see how trust is built between two people, especially two complete opposites forced to trust each other. 

Do you ever get to see the black-and-white puppy you adopted in the Himalayas that now lives in Southern California?

lisa-kelly-irt-deadiest-roads.jpgEvery time I get to L.A., I make a point to go see Rampur Jackson. He still remembers me!!

(Kelly even wrote a book about him.)

What's the strangest -- or even the funniest -- fan reaction you've gotten from appearing on "Ice Road Truckers" and "IRT:Deadliest Roads"?

I had one guy who wanted me to shave my autograph in his chest hair. Ha ha ha!. And I had a little kid come up to me and say, "I don't like you!" You gotta respect the honesty of kids!!

We usually see you behind the wheel. What might we be surprised to know about you when you're off the road?

I love trucking, and more and more the audience gets to see that I love so much more than just trucking. I have way too many hobbies to even keep up with. I'm not sure there is much left to be surprised about!

And here's a look at Rampur Jackson, all grown up.